This is a unique, innovative and uncommon structure amongst global banks. The experience in Brazil, which is Santander’s most important market, has been bittersweet. That said, it would seem like a strategic approach in such an accredited nationalistic country.
Trading its British business in London, the second or third market in importance for the group, is an open project which still has to become a reality when circumstances allow.
In the US market, Santander has sought to play several cards: commercial banking, consumer finance, auto loans and investment banking. But supervisors demand there should be a single council responsible for each individual entity. The Spanish bank is working on that and it is expected to result in a Santander USA, separated from the Santander group.
Will something similar happen with Santander Spain (Spain and Portugal) or Santander Consumer, or even with Santander Poland? We cannot rule it out.
The bank’s federal spirit has been apparent for years, given that each market’s independence and financial autonomy were part of the strategy or policy upheld by Emilio Botín. His successor Ana Botín seems determined to emphasize that, with the scope and consequences yet to be seen.